The Environment Agency has issued the latest update on construction of the Medmerry Managed Realignment Scheme.
The last project update in November 2012 reported that about 80% of the work required to build the new inland flood banks had been completed. The Environment Agency explained that the ongoing wet weather was making it very difficult to build the new flood embankments. It was also explained that dry weather was needed to enable the remaining work to be completed in time for a March breach.
However, despite their best efforts including trying different construction techniques and equipment, the continuing wet weather has meant that the Environment Agency have been unable to make much progress on the embankments recently. The wet weather creates difficulties because it makes the ground very wet, which makes it very difficult for construction equipment to move around the site. In addition most of the material needed to build the embankments is being dug up from within the site. When this is saturated it cannot be used until it dries out.
The Environment Agency has therefore, reluctantly, taken the decision to temporarily postpone construction of the embankments until the site is able to dry out. They expect this to be in the spring, and will keep providing updates regarding conditions on site.
This delay to the programme means that they will not be able to achieve the original planned breach date in March 2013. It is more likely that this will now take place in the autumn 2013. The Environment Agency has said it will continue to maintain the existing sea defences until the new inland banks and all the other works are complete. Despite the difficult conditions on site, the intention is to continue working where possible. This includes construction of the new drainage outfalls and the archaeological investigations.
Most of the protected species work will be unaffected by the change because much of it has already been completed. There will be a need to continue to monitor the site throughout the extended construction period to ensure there are no new impacts on protected species. The delay means the Environment Agency will need to revise their water vole strategy and are currently working on this in consultation with Natural England.
Update on June 2012 flooding on the Manhood Peninsula:
Black and Vetch, appointed engineers (independent of the Medmerry managed realignment scheme) have published their final report later this month. For further information about this please visit the Environment Agency flooding review webpage or go to http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/141205.aspx
RSPB Management Plan:
The RSPB will take over the management of Medmerry access and habitats once the scheme is complete. The RSPB's management plan will start at that point. The Environment Agency continues to meet with the Medmerry Stakeholder Advisory Group (MStAG) and community representatives to report on all aspects of the scheme.
If you have any questions about the project, please email the Environment Agency project team on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively you can contact the Environment Agency’s public liaison officer, Jacqui Bandy, on 07917 048912.
A large part of the Manhood Peninsula is less than 5m above sea level and at risk from flooding, both inland and coastal. It is likely that climate change will increase this risk, through rising sea levels, rising water tables and increased precipitation intensity. Drainage is an increasing problem on the peninsula as the existing ditches are proving inadequate... Read More»
Drainage and flood risk are increasing problems on the Manhood Peninsula which may worsen considerably with climate change. For local advice see the Chichester District Council web pages for Drainage - Help and Advice. The Manhood Peninsula Partnership (MPP) commissioned a drainage survey of the peninsula and is working closely with local parishes to improve drainage knowledge of the area and help local authorities... Read More»
Sea defences have been required in the Manhood Peninsula for many years. A great deal of work was needed following a particularly bad storm in December 1951 which wrecked houses along the Selsey sea front, and led to their subsequent demolition. Following is a gallery of images courtesy of Royal Haskoning, the Coastal Engineering Consultant for Chichester District, showing the coastline and sea defences evolve... Read More»